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The Final Vote For Financial Reform

Last Thursday evening, the House passed bold financial reform by a vote of 237-192. That is a great step forward for young Americans. Now we have one last big hurdle to overcome before the bill can be sent to the President: the Senate must pass the bill, and they will likely vote in the next few days.

This legislation is important to young adults for two reasons. First, it takes real steps to prevent a future financial crisis like the one we recently experienced. We have seen what an unregulated financial market can do to our economy, and we do not want to repeat that mistake.

Second, it provides real consumer protections to safeguard against dishonest, fraudulent, and predatory lending practices. As a group, 18-34 year olds are just getting started in the financial market, and many have painful early experiences with deceptive lenders. And half of us carry monthly credit card balances averaging $5,000. When you count mortgages, student debt, and other loans, the average young adult has $100,000 in total debt. [1] Given that financial burden, the least we can do is crack down on deceptive lenders trying to profit at our expense.

While we applaud this bill as an important step forward, we are still concerned that it does not protect consumers against predatory auto lenders, a major concern for young adults and particularly young members of the military. The auto-lending lobbyists successfully won a special exemption, and we hope congress will fix this loophole as soon as possible.

We strongly encourage the Senate to stand with young Americans, and with all Americans, to pass this landmark legislation. It’s time to guarantee that Wall Street, run amok, will never again hold America hostage.

[1] Based on the 2007 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, available at: